What would we give for our children to become mighty oaks of righteousness? An hour of teaching on Sunday morning? A few hours of preparation? A regular weekly prayer for the children in your small group? A passing word of spiritual encouragement to a child in your class? Each of these small investments could reap an eternal harvest.
God displays His power so that man might see His greatness. When we truly see the greatness of God, our response should be worship. That is what the newly revised God Always Wins curriculum for VBS and Backyard Bible Club is all about—showing the greatness of God so that children may come to worship Him.
There is very bad news for all people. We have all turned away from God and cannot fix our sinful hearts. Sin and sorrow, sickness and death, problems and pain have entered God’s good creation.
While instruction in the Scriptures can and should happen in a church setting, it can never replace the humble, face-to-face context of loving relationships in the home. It is in this relationship of trust and love that head knowledge becomes heart knowledge. Anyone can share information with a child, but when a child learns something from a trusted and loved person, the child is more likely to embrace that knowledge as truth—especially if that truth is demonstrated in everyday life as it is modeled by trusted mentors.
There is a difference between reading with children and reading to children. Reading to children is when an adult reads and children listen; but reading with children is experiencing the story, the words, and the ideas together. It is an interactive exchange that takes place as the adult and the children discover meaning, wonder at the marvelous, mourn over the heartaches, ponder the incomprehensible, and rejoice in the beautiful together. Reading with children requires engaging your mind and heart in the text, letting your emotions overflow as you read together.
Let’s not miss the opportunities we have through our traditions in this special season of the year to "Let light shine out of darkness," and give to our children, relatives, friends, and neighbors “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6).
"News spread throughout Judea that this was a special child, and the people wondered who he would be," Sally Michael writes in this excerpt from the forthcoming New Testament volume of More Than a Story. "For the hand of the Lord was with him. But long ago, God had already let His people know about this child through the words of the prophets Malachi and Isaiah. His father, Zechariah, was filled with the Holy Spirit and foretold or prophesied about God’s purpose using some of the words of these prophets."
In the heart of every Christian grandmother is the desire for her grandchildren to know Jesus as their Savior. This was my heart's desire nine years ago when I wrote the text to Jesus Is Most Special. It didn’t start out as text for a children’s book about the birth of Christ. It was simply the expression of one grandmother’s heart that her granddaughter would know of God’s love in sending the Savior.
Lord, Teach Us To Pray is a newly revised intergenerational curriculum that instructs young and old to approach God in prayer with a heart of submission to God’s desires and a trust in His good and right answers. Through prayer, you will learn to know your Heavenly Father better and enjoy fellowship with Him.
“Lord, teach us to pray,” are the words of Jesus’ disciples in Luke 11:1. But they can also be the words of every Christian who desires to connect with his Heavenly Father through life-giving prayer and the plea of Christian parents who desire to lead their children into a fuller, deeper relationship with God. The newly revised Lord, Teach Us to Pray family devotional is a guide to inspire families to pray biblical prayers by understanding God’s heart and purposes revealed in the Lord’s Prayer.